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'Selfie of a Lifetime’ Snapped During EgyptAir Hijacking

  • VOA News

EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa flashes the victory sign as he leaves a EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa flashes the victory sign as he leaves a court in a police car after a remand hearing as authorities investigate him on charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives and abduction in the Cypriot coastal town of Larnaca, March 30, 2016.

EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa flashes the victory sign as he leaves a EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa flashes the victory sign as he leaves a court in a police car after a remand hearing as authorities investigate him on charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives and abduction in the Cypriot coastal town of Larnaca, March 30, 2016.

It’s hard to imagine wanting to have your picture taken alongside a hijacker, but that’s exactly what a young British man did on an EgyptAir flight that was diverted to Cyprus Tuesday.

Ben Innes, a 26-year-old Brit posed with alleged hijacker Seif el-Din Mustafa who claimed to be wearing an explosive suicide vest.

"I'm not sure why I did it, I just threw caut­ion to the wind while trying to stay cheerful in the face of adversity," he told Britain's The Sun newspaper. "We were sitting around waiting. I thought, 'Why not? If he blows us all up it won't matter anyway."

Using a flight attendant as an interpreter, Innes asked Mustafa if they could take the picture.

"He just shrugged OK — so I stood beside him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap," Innes told the newspaper. "It has to be the best selfie ever."

Innes has said that at the beginning of the hijacking, he was “very scared,” but that after getting close to Mustafa, he began to think the suicide vest was not real.

The photo immediately went viral, appearing on numerous media outlets around the world. The photo also sparked a flood of memes.

EgyptAir flight MS181 was flying from Alexandria to Cairo when it was diverted to Cyprus.

Mustafa is believed to have hijacked the plane as a result of issues regarding his ex-wife, who lives in Cyprus.

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